Vocal Harmony ‘Training Wheels’
The idea is, each singer hears their part (their part only) on their headphones. This is fed from the multitrack on the laptop. We repeat/loop a short section so that we can experiment with how we sing the phrase, to blend our voices and adjust the start and end of notes. You can hear it getting better as a group each time we go round. We think it cuts down on the time it takes to learn a difficult harmony. The looping/iterative process helps fine tune it much quicker.
Hearing all the voices in the headphones helps too. Normally, in a normal acoustic singing class you can hear your own voice much louder than the others. So it is less easy to blend with the others. This is a good way for each of the singers to hear the result just how the audience would hear it. It is also better for the musical director to monitor the result when he or she is also part of the group and is singing.
The process is helped by a ‘vocal chart’ for each singer. It’s a piano-roll type horizontal chart of the notes. It is colour coded. More on this later …